What happens when you have an outlet in your house just give up and die? What do you do? First things first. If you don’t feel comfortable working with electricity you should call a professional electrician.
However, if you feel up to the challenge but don’t know where to start here’s what to do.
First you need to make sure what the problem really is. Check your circuit breaker/fuse box to make sure no fuses are blown or circuits are tripped.
Next you need to find out if the outlet is really bad. Use a circuit tester or take a household item that you know is working properly and try plugging that in. If the breaker/fuse was o.k. and the outlet is still showing dead, it’s time to replace the outlet. When choosing an outlet to replace the bad one it is important to choose the correct amperage. If the circuit breaker or fuse for your outlet is 15 amps then you would buy a 15 amp outlet. If it is a 20 amp circuit breaker/fuse then you would want to put in a 20 amp outlet.
Start by going to your circuit board/fuse box and find the breaker or fuse for the bad outlet. If your circuit board is not labeled or you’re not sure which breaker/fuse is for the outlet you may need to do some trial and error.
This is best done with a voltage tester like the one below. This tester can be used without touching any bare wires. All you have to do is touch it to the coated part of the wire that you want tested and it will light up and beep if there is power running through it.
Next, take the outlet plate off the outlet exposing the box and wires. Very carefully pull out the outlet from the wall so you can access the wires easier. Touch the tester to the outlets black wire and have someone shut off breaker switches or pull fuses until your tester shows no power is running to your outlet.
Once this is done you should be ready to disconnect the wires going to the outlet. IMPORTANT: look to see which wire is attached to which screw! Ideally you have black, white, green and sometimes red wires in the box. However, this may not always be the case so you need to look at which wire is attached to which screw. I would even recommend that you write it down.
When unhooking the wires I always like to make sure there is no power before I start. Use your voltage tester to do this. Touch each one individually before disconnecting it. To disconnect the wires from the outlet unscrew the screw that they are attached to and pull them off. If they are not attached to a screw and are pushed directly into the outlet you may need to cut the with a wire cutters. Reconnect the new outlet making sure the wires go to the same screws as the old outlet.
What if you didn’t write down which wire went to which screw and you can’t remember which one went where? Hopefully you have properly colored wiring to help you out. The rule is: white wire goes to the silver screw, black wire goes to the gold screw, green wire goes to the green ground screw. If you happen to have red wire instead of a black one then substitute the red onto the gold screw.
Attach all screws, carefully push the outlet back into the box, and put the face plate back on. Finally go back to the circuit board and flip the breaker/replace the fuse and you should be back in business.
If you have any more questions about wiring or anything else visit us at 12700 Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove
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